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Showing posts from 2017

Illusion of free choices

An interesting BBC article notes that social media platforms like Facebook are not merely reflecting our preferences but also actively shaping them though "nudge like": Platforms like Facebook are curating our news and information under catchall headings like “trending topics”, or criteria like “relevance” – but we only rarely get glimpses into how the filtering happens. This is important because subtle changes in the information we are exposed to can transform our behaviour. To understand why, consider an insight from behavioural science that has been widely adopted by governments and other authorities around the world: the policy “nudge”. This is where subtle tactics are used to encourage us to adopt a particular behaviour. One famous example is making organ donation opt-out rather than opt-in. Instead of requiring people to register themselves as organ donors, an opt-out system automatically assumes that anyone’s organs can be used for donation unless they have specified…

Antidote of Sin

An affection to sin, which cost the Redeemer of the world so dear, would be inconsistent with a sound knowledge and serious study of a crucified Saviour. We should see no charms in sin, which may not be overcome by that ravishing love, which bubbles up in every drop of the Redeemer's blood. Can we with lively thoughts of this, sin against so much tenderness, compassion, grace, and the other perfections of God, which sound so loud in our ears from the cross of Jesus? Shall we consider him hanging there to deliver us from hell, and yet retain any spirit to walk in the way which leads thereto? Shall we consider him upon the cross, unlocking the gates of heaven, and yet turn our backs upon that place he was so desirous to purchase for ire, and give us the possession of? Shall we see him groaning in our place and stead, and dare to tell him, by our unworthy carriage, that we regard him not, and that he might have spared his pains? It must be a miserable soul, worse than brutish, that c…

Are you at Bochim?

One word dominated the early days of the Trump administration in the USA. The word is “compromised”. The allegations have been that the Trump campaign may have colluded with the Russians which, if true, means that President Trump, may in some way have been compromised prior to taking power earlier this year. Those who have opposed the American President continue to say he is not fit to be president because of what they see as close dealings with the Russians .
We will never know the truth, but the story is a reminder that faithfulness and integrity is important in every walk of life. Yet, we know that all humans beings are tempted to compromise. We are tempted to bend the rules or tolerate sin for personal advantage. This is the compromise that the Bible often speaks. The accommodation of something that we know is wrong! We see this in the life of Israel in Judges as they settled in the promised land after the death of Joshua. Even from the onset of taking possession of the land, th…

Faithful Discipline

The faithful discipline of the LORD.  A hand, A stick, A knife, A sword.  Chastising every son adored.  This be my duty declares the LORD.
Why dost thou fight when reproved by him?  Thy LORD and thy God dost hate thy sin.  But treats you as daughters and sons with him.
How long will you be crushed under the weight of sin?  Go now, go now to his feet, and cry to him.  He'll surely hear you, delight in him.
His hand is heavy upon my brow,  But I will go, i will go,  Let every saint wrestle with him. Surely the waters will not overtake the one who waits on him.
ALEXANDER JACOBI

One Minute Lessons (Lesson 33)

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. EPHESIANS 6:10-11
LESSON

We are not as strong as we think we are. Your strength is not enough to withstand the superhuman powers at war with you. We need the strength and might that only Christ provides. Put on the gospel armour!

The Reciprocity of Love

When it comes to love, there is a question that some people have. It goes like this. I know what love is, but why on earth should I bother to love other people at all? As someone has said to me, what have people done for me to deserve their love? It is a valid question. Why should we love others? The world cannot answer that question. Its only response is that we should love because it is good for us. Which is true but if that is all there is then love is pure self-love. The Bible gives us the answer:
Beloved, I am writing you no new commandment, but an old commandment that you had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word that you have heard. At the same time, it is a new commandment that I am writing to you, which is true in him and in you, because the darkness is passing away and the true light is already shining. Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness. Whoever loves his brother abides in the light, and in him there is no cause for stu…

The Resemblance of Love

Last October, there was excitement among royal watchers as Princess Charlotte delighted the crowds in Canada with a rare public appearance. The toddler princess showed off her walking and even some dancing on her first royal engagement during William and Kate’s tour of Canada.

This excited the tabloid media who quickly informed us that the little girl bears a striking resemblance to her great-grandmother Queen Elizabeth II. We were treated to photographs of the Queen when she was the same age as Charlotte. One newspaper said Charlotte has a cheeky grin like her great-granny.

The Wonder of Love

Imagine God is thinking about you. What do you assume God feels when you enter His mind? For many of us our answer is probably disappointment! If we are honest that is how many of us feel. We look at our lives and we see only sin, failure and weaknesses! Life for many people is a never-ending treadmill of hard work!
When we became followers of Jesus we probably looked forward to a new kind of life. But then we became crushed to discover that old habits die hard. We still struggle with sin in many areas! Our desire to please God often comes up short! Sometimes this may lead us to doubt in our hearts on whether they were really true Christians! 

Election

God's election is found in Christ alone,  So please don't frown when you feel down.  Look to Christ on Calvary's tree  There is room yet in heaven for you and for me.
When sin bites your soul and the light goes out  Remember dear one that Jesus is the light of all men, so who is to condemn?  Its Jesus who died.  No room for pride, just humble adoration in our justification.
So look to Christ now crushed upon that tree, for weak and lost sinners.  Hey cheer up, that's you and that's me.
ALEXANDER JACOBI

The Command of Love

What is love? Here are few answers given by a group of young children. Chrissy, says “Love is when you go out to eat and give somebody most of your French fries without making them give you theirs.”. Mary Ann says, “Love is when your puppy licks your face even after you left him alone all day.” Karen says, “When you love somebody, your eyelashes go up and down and little stars come out of you.” Elaine says - “Love is when my Daddy gives me the best piece of chicken.”
As their answers illustrate, love is a word with different meaning to different people! Yet for followers of Jesus, nothing is more important than to understand what love is, how we are to love and why we should love! Love is a serious issue because the nature of our love for God and others reveals the true spiritual condition of our heart before God! If we really want to know whether we belong to God we simply need to look at our love! Here is what the apostle John says about love: Beloved, I am writing you no new comma…

The Test of Love

It is February 2012. Joana has brought her son Vinnie to Boots in Ipswich for a routine eye test. The Optometrist on the day is Honey Rose. She looks at Vinnie’s eyes and gives Vinnie a clean bill of health. Fast forward five months to July 2012. Vinnie is admitted to the hospital, and dies shortly aged 8, due to fluid building up on his brain.
It turns out that when Honey examined Vinnie she failed to spot obvious abnormalities in both of his eyes. In fact, had she even checked the photographs taken by another staff showing the back of Vinnie’s eye, she would have spotted that Vinnie suffered from a serious condition in which optic discs at the back of each eye become swollen because of raised pressure within the skull.
As the QC said during the trial, Honey missed something that any competent optometrist" and would have seen! The failure to properly diagnose Vinnie’s condition led to his tragic death. Honey was rightly sentenced for gross negligence manslaughter.
The tragic d…

The Evidence of Love

I was speaking to a single mother recently who really wants to get married. I asked her, what sort of man are you looking for? She said, "Pastor, I want to marry a godly man who will love my children and look after them". A good answer because it would be strange if this godly woman said, she simply wants a man who loves her and does not care whether he loves her children! We all know that love for the mother means loving her two children as well. 
Sadly, when it comes to God we seem to often forget that true love for God is proven by how much we love His children. The apostle John makes this very clear in his first letter : “If anyone says, “I love God”, and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother” (1 John 4:20-21)

The Intention of Love

A report published last year shows that the number of people around the world who die each year from taking a selfie is growing rapidly. The increase in death is being caused by people going to extreme lengths to take a selfie in order to impress other people on social media.
Two months ago, 22 year old Dean Steele from Scotland was knocked by a car on a German motorway while taking a selfie. Not all selfies lead death. Some of them are about celebrating death! Funeral directors in Canada have been educating people that taking selfies over a corpse and posting it to social media is disrespectful.

The fearlessness of love

What is love? How do I know that I love others as I am supposed to? Is it possible to love others and not like them?  How do I grow in love? These are just some of the many questions we all have about love. They are also questions that early followers of Jesus had. The first letter of 1 John was written to answer some of these questions. Here is how John expressed one of his answers:  God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. 17 By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgement, because as he is so also are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. [1 JOHN 4:16-18]

The Presence of Love

Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. 16 So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him [1 JOHN 4:15-16] The love of God publicly proven in the coming of Jesus was not merely a love displayed to us, it is a love intimately experienced by us! One of the most important truths repeatedly stated by John is that God now lives in anyone who has hearted trust in Jesus as the Son of God.

The Proof of Love

If you have been following the news in the UK recently, there is one word that you may have heard on the lips of journalists and politicians: confidence! Does the public have any confidence in Theresa May to deliver a good Brexit deal following the suicidal performance in the elections? Most importantly does she have any confidence in herself to succeed, with vultures in the party now circling for her job? It is perhaps not surprising that the proposed deal between the Conservatives and DUP is called a “confidence and supply” arrangement.

The Privilege of Love

A couple of years ago the car insurance company called Privilege, run a series of TV adverts fronted by the celebrty Joanna Lumley. The adverts showed how the upper class in our society live – fox hunting, elegant parties, large mansions and even having house servants. The adverts always end with the slogan: “With Privilege Car Insurance, you don't have to be posh to be privileged".I could never warm up to the advert because getting car insurance has never felt like a privilege to me. I have car insurance because I have to!

The Persuasion of Love

In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another [1 John 4:10-11] The inevitable outcome of experiencing the love of God in Jesus is that we  in turn live out this love with one another. The word “ought” is the verses above is not pointing us simply to an obligation to love. It is saying this love of Jesus we have received now compels us inside to love others.

The Gift of Love

In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. [1 John 4:9-10] The Bible teaches us that the love of God is not theoretical. God has actually proved his amazing love to us by sending His Son, the Lord Jesus to us. How does God sending Jesus reveal the incredible love of God to us? The apostle John answers that question for us in the passage above. Here are five reasons that makes the sending of Jesus an incredible gift of love.

The God of Love

The famous chart topping song by the Beatles tells us: All you need is love, all you need is love, love. Love is all you need. Beatles first performed that song in 1967 as part of Britain's contribution to a TV programme called Our World. The first live global television link.
They were asked to come up with a song with an inspirational message everyone understood. They came up came with: “All you need is love”. We may laugh that their love was not enough to keep them together, but I am sure we all agree that there is some truth in what the song says.

The Call of Love

One of the most important question we must answer in our walk of faith is, ‘what is a true Christian?’ A lot of books have been written trying to address that question. Well, if you asked apostle John this question, he would respond to ask you with another question : Do you love other followers of Jesus with love of God? Here is how he he puts it:
Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. (1 John 4:7-8) In the verses above, John uses a phrase he repeated uses in his “one another”. Here it refers to the “beloved” or true followers of Jesus. The church is a new loving family of people who share the same Father. In other words, just as we naturally seek to love our human family,  if we have a new nature as children of God, we now have the capacity to love our new spiritual family in Jesus.

The Birth of Love

All of us constantly shop for ideas on how best to love in our own way. There are plenty of suggestions in the world on how to do it. Agony Aunts and counsellors are all paid lots of money to help us deal with the search for love, especially when it goes wrong. Their answers are well known: love yourself more and try a bit harder.
The Bible tells us the opposite. You cannot truly love as you are meant to love until God gives you a new heart that can truly love! All human beings have rebelled against God. We have all rejected His love since the fall of man in Eden. Sin is a virus that has ravaged every single area of our relationship with God and with one another! We are in fact dead in sin. So, to truly love as God intends us to love we need God to give us new life. We must first be born of God :

The Origin of Love

Tillie has always wanted to have a child. After waiting for a few years she is finally pregnant. In many ways, it is a perfect pregnancy with no physical complications. But while the baby is in the womb, Tillie does not enjoy the feeling of him kicking her and never strokes her bump with loving thoughts. She is becoming detached from the life growing inside her and goes about as normal.
When the time for birth is great. It is a relaxed and calm affair. In fact she even makes cakes in between contractions! And then Fletcher, her son is born. The midwife puts him onto her chest. But Tillie feels no emotion towards him at all. As she is lying there on her bed. She is not think what mums do. There is no love or warmth. She is over come with pity for herself.

One Minute Lessons (Lesson 32)

The beast was given a mouth to utter proud words and blasphemies and to exercise its authority for forty-two months. It opened its mouth to blaspheme God, and to slander his name and his dwelling place and those who live in heaven. It was given power to wage war against God's holy people and to conquer them. And it was given authority over every tribe, people, language and nation. All inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast—all whose names have not been written in the Lamb's book of life, the Lamb who was slain from the creation of the world. Whoever has ears, let them hear. "If anyone is to go into captivity, into captivity they will go. If anyone is to be killed with the sword, with the sword they will be killed." This calls for patient endurance and faithfulness on the part of God's people.

One Minute Lessons (Lesson 31)

And I began to weep loudly because no one was found worthy to open the scroll or to look into it. And one of the elders said to me, "Weep no more; behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals 
Revelation 5:5
John was weeping loudly because he looked at the situation and saw no hope. But one of the elders reminded him: Jesus is the People's Champion. He has conquered sin, death, Satan and Hell for us. There is no need for us to feel hopeless in any situation! 
A time indeed is coming when those  who have weeped for their sin before Jesus will weep no more. You will weep no more about yourself, your family, your work, your church, your country and your future. Since we have such a future ahead of us, let us not weep today like those who have no hope. The Lion of Judah has conquered all things for us. Amen!

Where is your Canaan?

When Joshua dismissed the people, the people of Israel went each to his inheritance to take possession of the land. And the people served the Lord all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders who outlived Joshua, who had seen all the great work that the Lord had done for Israel. And Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of the Lord, died at the age of 110 years. And they buried him within the boundaries of his inheritance in Timnath-heres, in the hill country of Ephraim, north of the mountain of Gaash. And all that generation also were gathered to their fathers. And there arose another generation after them who did not know the Lord or the work that he had done for Israel . JOSHUA 2:6-10 
This wonderful passage inserted in the middle of Judges describes the Joshua generation which served God faithfully. They stands in sharp contrast to the generations that followed who did not know the God of Israel.  The Joshua generation served God by immersing themselves to the task that God…

The equilibrium of suffering

Whether it is the wound of abuse or the disappointment of believing for but not yet receiving a physical healing, suffering puts humanity on a level playing field and points us to the one pain that is common to us all—our need for God to break into our lives and make the wrong things right. At its most basic level, every pain we experience reveals a longing within us to encounter God’s beauty, or the essence of who He is. SHELLEY HUNDLEY

7 Lessons on J.C. Ryle

I just finished reading J C Ryle 'Prepared to Stand Alone' by Iain H Murray. This is first biography I have read on  J C Ryle. I enjoyed reading J C Ryle's book 'Holiness' so I thought I should read a bit more about the man himself. Here are seven things I took away from the book.

1. When Ryle was young, his father owned a bank which eventually collapsed and made the family bankrupt leading to some hardship. In his own words,"the immediate consequences were bitter and painful in the extreme, and humiliating to the utmost degree. The creditors naturally, rightly and justly, seized everything and we children were left with nothing but our own personal property and our clothes"
2. Ryle became a clergyman more out of forced circumstances than a deliberate choice. He says, "I could not see nothing whatever before me but to become a clergyman because that brought me in some income at once..." Elsewhere, Ryle says, "I became a clergyman because I f…

Calling all sinners!

The gate of Mercy is opened, and over the door it is written, “This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.” Between that word “save” and the next word “sinners,” there is no adjective. It does not say, “penitent sinners,” “awakened sinners,” “sensible sinners,” “grieving sinners,” or “alarmed sinners.” No, it only says, “sinners.” And I know this, that when I come, I come to Christ today . . . I dare not come as a conscious sinner or an awakened sinner, but I have to come still as a sinner with nothing in my hands. CHARLES HADDON SPURGEON

Union with Christ

Busy Christians in an iPhone age can look at Christ as though he were the battery charger and we are the smartphone. We ‘plug into’ Jesus during a quiet time, then go out and live on that energy until our spiritual batteries run dry— then it’s back to the next quiet time, conference, or retreat. But this is not a metaphor the Bible invites us to use when it speaks of our union in Christ. He is the vine; we are the branches JONI EARECKSON TADA

Slipping

It’s scary when you’re slipping And there’s no one there to catch you In fact they catch a glimpse of you And start to welcome you back And with a heart caught between Two situations You begin to take in their semi-compliments Like ‘you’re finally back to being you’ ‘Remember that time when you were getting a bit dry But now we’re all cool’ Cool is the last thing you feel

What is your Bethel?

The house of Joseph also went up against Bethel, and the Lord was with them. And the house of Joseph scouted out Bethel. (Now the name of the city was formerly Luz.) And the spies saw a man coming out of the city, and they said to him, “Please show us the way into the city, and we will deal kindly with you.” And he showed them the way into the city. And they struck the city with the edge of the sword, but they let the man and all his family go. And the man went to the land of the Hittites and built a city and called its name Luz. That is its name to this day. JUDGES 1:22-25 
I have been thinking about success recently. What is success? How does it look like? That is partly because of change in personal circumstances. I am now just moved into this new pastoral role, a radical departure from my previous economic role in government. The other reason is that we have been hearing a lot of success from national leaders. Prime Minister Theresa May has vowed to make a success of Brexit. What…

Lady Gaga and Satanism

This is one of the most disturbing videos I have ever come across. The deep seated embrace of Lady Gaga's satanic practices by the media and society in general is quite shocking. Was also shocked by the shocking Nazi streak in her performances. The fact that Lady Gaga does not hide her Satanism means does help us to pray purposely that God should set her free from the dark web that has engulfed her and also millions of her young disciples. Good Fight Ministries are doing great to expose these deeds of drakness.

What is your iron chariot?

And the LORD was with Judah, and he took possession of the hill country, but he could not drive out the inhabitants of the plain because they had chariots of iron. JUDGES 1:19
At the first reading of this verse, it seems like the author of Judges is suggesting the iron may be too strong for God. In fact his point is totally the opposite. Prior to this incident the author of Judges tells us about the various victories over the Cananites that God gave the people of God, especially of the brutal Adoni-Bezek. God had done this just as He had promised the people after the death of Joshua. So there is no doubt that the God of Israel is omnipotent!

Who is the centre of the universe?

Human beings are not the centre of the Universe. In fact, it is the human belief that we are the centre of all things that the Bible calls sin. It leads to the arrogant treatment of the rest of the created order and the breaking of human relationships. Some writers give the impression that our destiny is to control the Universe. That is not the biblical view. God is the centre of all things, and we are creatures given status by his love.
DAVID WILKINSON

One Minute Lessons (Lesson 30)

As they were walking along the road, a man said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.”
Luke 9:57-58
LESSON :
To follow Jesus is to follow a homeless man and become a stranger and exile on the earth. This inevitably means embracing divine engineered uncertainty in this life. There are going to be times when following Jesus means not knowing where your next meal is coming from. There will be times when your plans will fall through. The salary might not allow you to buy a home. A thief may break into your house. Radical generosity may be required to meet another person's desperate need. A debilitating illness may befall.
Can you bear not knowing how Jesus is going to provide for all these urgent needs and still trust that he will? If your answer is yes, then you are a follower of Jesus!

One Minute Lessons (Lesson 29)

Because I live, you also will live. In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you.
John 14:19
LESSON
It is important to remember that the only hope for your life and mine, in this life and beyond, is this remarkable Union that is available 24 hours day, 7 days a week, with God through His Son. No Jesus, no life. No matter how much you have accumulated.
This is true for terrorists, prostitutes, drug dealers and corrupt leaders. It is also true for you. You need this Jesus 24/7. If you put this Jesus first, God the Creator comes to live in your heart. God does not just save you, He becomes your very life! What a great honour!

What faith does!

Faith..unites the soul with Christ, as a bride is united with her bridegroom. From such a marriage, as St. Paul says, it follows that Christ and the soul . . . hold all things in common, whether for better or worse. This means that what Christ possesses belongs to the believing soul, and what the soul possesses belongs to Christ. Thus Christ possesses all good things and holiness; these now belong to the soul. The soul possesses lots of vices and sin; these now belong to Christ. . . . Now is not this a happy business? Christ, the rich, noble and holy bridegroom, takes in marriage this poor, contemptible and sinful little prostitute, takes away all her evil and bestows all his goodness upon her! It is no longer possible for sin to overwhelm her, for she is now found in Christ.
MARTIN LUTHER

One Minute Lessons (Lesson 28)

While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” Then he fell on his knees and cried out, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” When he had said this, he fell asleep.
Acts 7:59-60
LESSON:

Jesus is God and you must learn to pray to him directly, not just "in the name of". Some falsely teach you can only pray to God the Father not Jesus. You must reject such heresy. At the worst juncture of his life, Stephen called out to the Jesus he knew and loved.
The practise of praying directly to Jesus, God the Son, is a powerful reminder to us that our hope is only in and through Jesus. There is no God, but Jesus Christ. All others are idols. Do not pray to idols, as Apostle John warns.
Start your prayers during the day like "Dear Lord Jesus" or "My dear Jesus, my precious Love and Eternal Friend". And of course you should continue to pray directly to God the Father and God the Spirit as well.

One Minute Lessons (Lesson 27)

Circumcise your hearts, therefore, and do not be stiff-necked any longer. For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality and accepts no bribes. He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing. And you are to love those who are foreigners, for you yourselves were foreigners in Egypt.

Deuteronomy 10:16-19
LESSON

God loves immigrants because He was once an immigrant in this world. More than that, God is working towards a world without borders, so you must stop spiritualising every verse and start obeying his commands to love immigrants. Stop looking after number one. Join God's ultimate plan to create a world without borders.

Awareness of divinity

There is within the human mind, and indeed by natural instinct, an awareness of divinity. This we take to be beyond controversy. To prevent anyone from taking refuge in the pretence of ignorance, God himself has implanted in all men a certain understanding of his divine majesty. Ever renewing its memory, he repeatedly sheds fresh drops.
JOHN CALVIN

One Minute Lessons (Lesson 26)

Great and marvellous are your deeds, Lord God Almighty. Just and true are your ways, King of the nations. Who will not fear you, Lord, and bring glory to your name? For you alone are holy. All nations will come and worship before you, for your righteous acts have been revealed.
Revelation 15:3-4
LESSON:

When all of God’s actions are added up at the end of time, it will be plain that the sum total of His works are righteous. From the evils of history God has brought unquestionable good, worthy of the highest praise. Keep trusting in the goodness of God!

7 fascinating facts about Bexleyheath

I just finished reading Bexleyheath : A History by John Mercer as part of my effort to know a little about the history of our new local area. We have been living here for the last four months and it is a wonderful area indeed. Here are seven fascinating things about Bexleyheath mentioned in the book.

1. Two hundred years ago much of Bexley Heath was an area of wide-open land largely uncultivated. It was not until 1894, that the two words were put together.

2. On 5 June 1739, George Whitfield, a prominent preacher associated with John Wesley, came to the highway and preached by the pond opposite the Golden Lion. He was welcomed to the district by Henry Piers, Vicar of St Mary's (Bexley), who was a supporter of the new evangelical movement which was to become later known as the Methodist Church. Over 300 gathered to hear Whitfield preach from his horse: travellers, labourers, gypsies and villagers from Bexley village.
3. One of the early inhabitants of Bexlyheath was the polish emigre …

Who is your Simeon?

After the death of Joshua, the people of Israel enquired of the Lord, “Who shall go up first for us against the Canaanites, to fight against them?” The Lord said, “Judah shall go up; behold, I have given the land into his hand.” And Judah said to Simeon his brother, “Come up with me into the territory allotted to me, that we may fight against the Canaanites. And I likewise will go with you into the territory allotted to you.” So Simeon went with him. Then Judah went up and the Lord gave the Canaanites and the Perizzites into their hand, and they defeated 10,000 of them at Bezek.  JUDGES 1:1-3
At start of the book of Judges we meet the nation of Israel facing a leadership crisis. Joshua their greater leader after Moses has died. This is a huge problem of course because even though the they have managed to break the back of the Canaanite resistance they not done enough to fully possess the land. The enemy is weakened but they now need to go in and do the dirty work of fully possessing i…

The Glue of Life

The film The Grey tells the story of a group of oil drillers. One day they are on the way to Alaska when the their plane crashes in the middle of nowhere. Eight people survive only to discover that they have just walked into in a territory full of wolves who hunt down human beings for food. The wolves begin to pick them out one by one until towards the end of the movie, the only person left is our main hero played by Liam Neeson.

Grace of Friendship

I’ve become convinced that perhaps nothing is so important for our walk with the Lord as good friends. I think God gives us good friends as sacraments – means of grace given to us as indices of God’s presence and conduits for our sanctification. While “there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother” (Prov. 18: 24), that same Friend sends us friends to help make his presence tangible and concrete. Nothing continues the incarnation like Christian friendship.
JAMES K A SMITH (Letters to a young Calvanist)